Special Needs Education

The Government of Rwanda is committed to the principle of promoting equalization of opportunities for all its citizens. It is in this regards that it is also the mission of the Ministry of Education to educate and train all the marginalized groups of children and youths, to enable their ultimate inclusion and participation in all aspects and sectors of the society. These values also form the foundation of the Education sector policy strategic objectives, envisioning developing conditions that are adequately conducive for all learners and educators to interact in a barrier-free and child-friendly educational environment, where the consideration of merits, capabilities and potentials, override differences based on ethnicity, religion, socio-economic backgrounds; gender, disability, health status, or any other marginalizing distinctions.

The mission commits the Ministry of Education to putting in place the necessary provisions and support for the education of the educationally vulnerable children and youths, refereed to here as learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Accordingly, the policy on Special Needs Education(SNE)and Inclusive Education (IE) is also a response to the National Constitution of 2003 as revised in 2015,which articulates the right to education for all, including the most vulnerable groups (Article 20); also translated for implementation by the Seven Year Government Programme: National Strategy for Transformation(NST1) (Priority area no 4, 62)), and subsequently by the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP -2018/19-2023/24). In response to national economic development strategies, it is intended to reflect the education sector plan to privilege improved quality education, and render education services more accessible to all, and as such, more relevant to national development needs and goals. The previous special needs education policy was developed & approved in 2007. The policy was developed basing on the previous ESSP2006-10 & the poverty reduction paper. There is need to review & up-date the previous policy as some gaps were identified in the policy& many changes have taken place since then.

It is in this context that the Special Needs Education (SNE) and Inclusive Education (IE) policy has been reviewed to provide the education sector direction and a renewed guidance for implementation. Hence, dynamisms and current demands in the delivery of SNE and IE services have been considered through consultations with key stakeholders and actors in the field, generating a more relevant and updated policy position, driven by the Ministry of Education focused concern on enhanced access, quality and equity in education services. The policy is concerned with education provisions and approaches meant to meet respective educational needs of all groups who require specialized interventions beyond the ordinary teaching/learning approaches, or those considered to have experienced barriers to participate in learning and development.

The Ministry of Education pledges its guidance and enhanced collaboration with education stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations, in the implementation of the policy for learners with Special Educational Needs. Public organizations, NGOs, Faith-based organizations and international agencies, are particularly appreciated with genuine indebtedness for their contributions to this SNE and IE policy reviews, and are especially called upon to renew their participations and collaboration in its implementation. In this way, centrally valued synergetic deployment of efforts will be ensured, taking cognizance of the national development agenda, as set in the prevailing Education Sector Policy guidelines. The Ministry of Education endorses the SNE & IE policy as a key input to education development in Rwanda and urges all stakeholders and partners to use it as a reference while considering their contribution to the Education sector.

For more information, read SNE_Policy__4.10.2018.pdf